The Middle East and North Africa

A Recipe for Civil War?

By Kristina Kausch (15/01/2014) Commentary
Mariam Soliman/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The Constitutional vote on 14-15 January sends Egypt's democratic transition back to square one. There is uncertainty as to what the future may hold for the country. While there are differences between the two cases, the experience of Algeria in the early 1990s - where a military coup following the electoral victory of the Front Islamique du Salut led to civil war - bears various resemblances to recent developments in Egypt. One important lesson is that the repression of a political group that is supported by large segments of society undermines democracy and endangers peace.

The Gulf Goes Global: the evolving role of Gulf countries in the Middle East and North Africa and beyond

ISSA/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

As the turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa enters its fourth year, the role of Gulf countries in influencing the processes of change in the region has evolved substantially. While the task of finding common ground and operating procedures may be challenging, international actors will need to absorb and accommodate the views of Gulf countries, and find new ways to develop deeper partnerships.

Democracy and Islamists: what is next?

Maggie Osama/Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This paper argues that democracy without Islamists is now inconceivable in the Middle East. Their exclusion from any democratic process would put the legitimacy and sustainability of the entire process at stake. However, merely lifting the barriers to inclusion is not enough to cure the region’s persistent democratic deficit. It is necessary to revisit socio-economic structures, broaden participation and implement comprehensive transitional justice processes that confer legitimacy on emerging political systems.

Iran and the West: beyond the nuclear deal

EEAS (Creative Commons BY NC ND)

The interim nuclear deal with Iran could pave the way towards improved relations with Iran, but could also give rise to new problems. While it is crucial to manage expectations of both domestic reform and regional cooperation, there are at least some genuine opportunities to consolidate a better relationship with Tehran.

Can the Syrian war be ended?

By Barah Mikaïl (21/11/2013) Policy Brief
Freedom House/Flickr

Almost three years after the beginning of the Arab spring, there are no signs of radical political change in Syria. Bashar al-Assad is still in office, the opposition is divided and prospects for external military intervention are receding. So far, the Geneva-II talks offer little hope for a political breakthrough. The first objective should be to achieve a ceasefire, which will require the engagement of all parties.

Western Sahara: beyond complacency

By Anouar Boukhars (30/09/2013) Policy Brief

Growing volatility and trans-border terrorism and militancy in and around North Africa make the Western Sahara conflict a potential stability risk for the region. There is an urgent need for a settlement but the means for bringing it about are limited. It is time for Morocco to act on its promises to improve its management of the area and prepare for autonomy.

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Dear Friends and Colleagues,

FRIDE ceased its think tank activities on 31st December 2015 for economic reasons. The Board of Trustees had to take this difficult decision since, despite many efforts to diversify its funding sources, FRIDE cannot sustain its think tank operations with a view to 2016 and beyond.

Established in 1999, FRIDE has made a major contribution to shape debate on Europe’s external activities in an increasingly challenging international environment. It has covered issues ranging from democracy and human rights to sustainable development, new approaches to multilateral cooperation and security affairs. FRIDE’s long-standing focus on the extended neighbourhood of the European Union proves today all the more relevant given widespread turbulence in the region. FRIDE’s emphasis on the importance of the values framing Europe’s external activities is central to current political debates in Europe and beyond. This shows the need for continued engagement in the pursuit of a common European foreign policy that is both effective and informed by the core values of European integration.

The Board wishes to thank Diego Hidalgo, FRIDE’s founder, for his tireless commitment and very generous support for many years. The Board also wishes to thank FRIDE’s dedicated staff, the members of the Board and the Advisory Committee for their contribution in making FRIDE one of the top foreign policy think tanks in Europe. We are very grateful to all those who have supported FRIDE’s work and projects over the years and we thank the many partners from all parts of the world who have worked with FRIDE on joint initiatives. We hope that FRIDE’s extensive input to the debate on Europe in the world will continue to inform thinking and action at a very critical time for Europe’s future.

The President of the Board

FRIDE cesó sus actividades como think tank el 31 de diciembre de 2015 por razones económicas. El Patronato tuvo que adoptar esta difícil decisión dado que, a pesar de los intensos esfuerzos realizados para diversificar sus fuentes de financiación, FRIDE no puede sostener sus operaciones como think tank a partir de 2016.

Establecido en 1999, FRIDE ha realizado una gran contribución al debate sobre las actividades exteriores de Europa en un ambiente internacional cada vez más complejo. Ha trabajado en temas que van desde la democracia y los derechos humanos al desarrollo sostenible, los nuevos enfoques en la cooperación multilateral y las cuestiones de seguridad. La atención prestada por FRIDE a la vecindad extendida de la Unión Europea durante mucho tiempo prueba ser hoy aún más relevante debido a la turbulencia que azota a la región. El énfasis de FRIDE en la importancia de los valores que enmarcan las actividades exteriores europeas es central en los debates en Europa y más allá. Esto muestra la necesidad de un compromiso continuo con la búsqueda de una política exterior europea común que sea eficaz y esté basada en los principios fundamentales de la integración europea.

El Patronato desea agradecer a Diego Hidalgo, fundador de FRIDE, por su incansable compromiso y muy generoso apoyo a lo largo de tantos años. También quiere expresar su gratitud a la dedicada plantilla, a los propios miembros del Patronato y del Comité Asesor por sus contribuciones para hacer de FRIDE uno de los principales think tanks de Europa en cuestiones de política exterior. Estamos muy agradecidos con todos aquellos que han apoyado el trabajo y los proyectos de FRIDE a través de los años y también damos las gracias a los numerosos socios de todas partes del mundo que han colaborado con FRIDE en iniciativas conjuntas. Esperamos que las extensas aportaciones de FRIDE al debate sobre Europa en el mundo continuará informando el pensamiento y la acción en un momento muy crítico para el futuro de Europa.

El Presidente del Patronato

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